30-year Treasury yield tops 3% as investors see accelerating economy

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond topped 3 percent for the first time since last May after signs pointed to an accelerating economy. At its high, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note hit 2.792 percent, its highest since April 2014.

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond added 9 basis points to hit 3.027 percent. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note added roughly 8 basis points, hitting 2.79 percent at 3:51 p.m. ET. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

The 10-year yield rose 31 basis points in January, its largest monthly rise since November 2016, when the yield climbed 53 basis points.

On Thursday afternoon, an economic tracker from the Atlanta Federal Reserve predicted gross domestic product (GDP) would surge by 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

Yields began to move higher after that indicator's update made the rounds on Wall Street. If the prediction proves accurate, it would be the best quarter since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

Investors are also awaiting the Labor Department's latest jobs report, which could reveal wage growth, traditionally a bellwether for inflation and a healthier economy. The report is set for release Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

During Janet Yellen's last meeting as chair of the Fed on Wednesday, policymakers indicated that market-based measures of inflation had increased in recent months and it expected prices to move higher in the next year. The comments sent yields higher as some traders believe that the Fed will increase rates at a faster pace with a better economic outlook.

Symbol
Yield
 
Change
%Change
US 3-MO
---
US 1-YR
---
US 2-YR
---
US 5-YR
---
US 10-YR
---
US 30-YR
---

Strong economic conditions can tempt traders into riskier assets, while increases in inflation undermine the value of government debt because it reduces the purchasing power of fixed payments.

The value of foreign debt also slipped Thursday, with the German 10-year bund yield hitting a high of 0.738 percent, its highest level since Dec. 4, 2015, when the bund yielded as high as 0.742 percent.

Despite the uptrend in rates, bond prices found relief early Thursday after the U.S. Labor Department reported that worker productivity fell in the fourth quarter, the first decline since early 2016. The government said that hourly output per worker fell at a 0.1 percent annualized rate between October and December, missing Wall Street expectations of a 1 percent increase.

A decline in labor output could make it difficult to boost gross domestic product (GDP) to 3 percent, a critical goal for President Donald Trump's administration.

—CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed to this report.